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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default Enough of Istvaan

Last week I was sitting in a meeting* of all the Horus Heresy authors as they discussed the over arching storyline for HH and what new stories they could give us.

Christian Dunn, Laurie Goulding, Nick Kyme and Lindsey Priestley were sitting in their thrones at the head of the table. The rest of the authors sat along both sides of the table.

Laurie Goulding was the first to speak.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am glad we could all get together, in spite of our busy schedules, to discuss the future of the Horus Heresy series. We have some exciting ideas to discuss with you all. We would like start by congratulating Nick Kyme for his stellar new novel, Scorched Earth.

This is the blurb we're putting on the website, 'Nearly a quarter of a million loyal Space Marines lost their lives on Isstvan V – the Dropsite Massacre lasted only a few hours, and yet the Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders were slaughtered by those they had once called kin.'

I think you'll all agree, this is exciting stuff and exactly what we need to be making more of"



Nick smiles and moves in closer to the table with his hands clasped together.
"Laurie is right", he said, looking into the eyes of the surrounding authors, "And now I have the unpleasant task of reprimanding several of you. David Annandale, Graham McNeill, Dan Abnett, you are all great writers, but you have failed us. You have failed us greatly and it is at this meeting that we will discuss how to move ahead in our new direction".

The room became thick with hesitation and confusion. Dan, with a look of total vexation, was the first to speak, "I don't understand. How have we failed? Our stories were loved by our readers, they sold well and we think we did a great job progressing the story line".

Nick Kyme bit hard on his lip, glaring at Dan with a murderous rage. It was at that moment that Laurie put his hand on Nick's shoulder in order to calm him.

"Progressing the story line? Hah. You speak as though you are doing something noble and yet it is right here that you have failed." mocked Laurie. "You all failed because your novels failed to include Istvaan in any way. You let your childish desires move the plot on too far. For whom do you work? This is Games Workshop, we do not progress plot lines. Why do you think the 40k series is perpetually stuck in M41.999? We do many things, but progressing a story arch is NOT ONE OF THEM!"

Stunned, Dan fell back into his chair.

Nick looked around and drank from a mug of tea before continuing, "We have already covered Istvaan from the perspective of the Emperors Children, the Raven Guard, the Salamanders, the Iron Hands and also in multiple short novellas. We have dozens of stories telling the exact same story from different perspectives and we have no desire to stop now, not when there are so many more opportunities open to us.

We may have covered most of the legions, but what about their support staff? We could have dozens of stories featuring members of the human support staff. Imagine a story about a chef in one of the nameless companies and how he views the battle. We could even take things in an abstract way and show the battle from the perspective of a rock or a bullet. Imagine how exciting that would be! We already published a story about the history of a knife. How about a story talking about a bullets journey through Istvaan and all that it saw. We certainly haven't discussed the death of Ferras Manus enough. We could publish at least 5 or 6 more stories about Ferrus dying but from a multitude of angles.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, we plan to set the next 35 Horus Heresy stories in and around the events of Istvaan. Lets face it, we don't have much material to work with. We have Istvaan, Calth and then it's straight on to the siege of Terra."


It was at that point that Graham McNeill stood up, and with a slight waiver in his voice pleaded, "We are authors. Creative writers. We will make up the material. We will create the stories which fill the gaps between Istvaan, Calth and Terra. I don't understand why we have to make endless stories about a battle which has been written about to the point of tedium. Do any of our readers want to read about Istvaan any more? Surely the events which took place there have been described in enough detail."

Graham fell back suddenly from the force of Nick's violent kick to the head.

"NO! You wretched scribe. You putrid scrivener of prose. NO! The readers are not tired of Istvaan. They call out for more. They don't want to see the story progress to Terra because they are scared. They are scared that the stories will reach a climax and they will no longer be able to shower us with their money as they buy our overpriced hardback novels. Do you want them to cry? DO YOU?!

And once we've finished with Istvaan, we have such sights to show you in Calth. Imagine, hundred of short stories about the tunnel warfare on that radioactive planet! With Istvaan and Calth alone we could keep the series going for another 34 years. It will be beautiful."



Christian Dunn slowly stood to his feet, glanced around the room with a smile and said, "So, do we all understand? We are not to progress the story in any way and are to release endless stories about how depressed the legions feel about Istvaan. Dan, Graham, David, I hope to see some more appropriate stories from you all. Perhaps a story from the perspective of a Iron Warriors soldier watching that battle from the walls. That will be exciting, wont it?"

The meeting adjourned and the writers left in a stunned silence.

*Note: I have never sat in a meeting of the Horus Heresy authors.





TLDR: Jesus Christ am I bored of them retelling the story of Istvaan from every possible angle. If they're not retelling it directly, they are constantly referencing it and describing it in small flashbacks. Am I alone in this or would anyone else like to see the story arch progress a little further?

Last edited by Kharn The Complainer; 08-20-15 at 05:26 PM.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 06:19 PM
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TL:DR. Don't read them then?



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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 07:57 PM
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A very nice way of getting your point across, very amusing. However I recommend just not reading anymore Heresy books full stop, the quality nose dived long ago!

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 08:21 PM
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I would say that this was indeed the funniest I've read in a while.

And yes surely you could say "Stop read them!" But the problem is that they've stuck on this point and aren't writing anything worth of reading, when they could devote time to write something new. So there isn't anything else to read in the series. And me personaly who has devoted many hours and dollars to it, want to see a satisfacory end to it and not milked out storylines. I would say Calth is close to being milked as well.

And I'm saying these complaints only because I care for the series and hope they will get back on track.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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And I'm saying these complaints only because I care for the series and hope they will get back on track.
Exactly why I also care.

Now, I know that it's fiction and as such it also doesn't need to follow certain laws of reality, but another big issue I am finding is what I call the 'escalation issue'.

Remember back to Horus Rising when Ignace Karkasy is looking across the city and watches the enormous Titan standing in the distance? I got this wonderful feeling of scale and power. This one giant could end whole armies. Also, with the heavy use of 'normal' people, it gave a wonderful contrast to the space marines and made them seem that much more impressive.

Now, skip forward to Vengeful Spirit and we have a clear example of the 'escalation issue'.
Slowly, through the series progression the battles have needed to out do the battles of the previous books right until the point where we no longer have a couple of Titans fighting, but we now have 20 or 30 fighting. These epic war machines which supposedly take decades to manufacture are being thrown around and destroyed in a single battle. In my mind they lose their stature when they are discarded in such a nonchalant way.

In some of the space battles we see multitudes of battlecruisers explode. These are ships which have crews in the tens of thousands and take generations (I would assume 50+ years) to construct.
And yet in the next novel the legions are back with another expendable fleet.
Horus had already culled a large number of his forces in Istvaan and then in Vengeful Spirit he's suffering enormous casualties. At the current rate of attrition, by the time they get to Terra, they'll have a single squad of 20 Legionaries trying to knock down the walls of the Imperial Palace.

I no longer feel connected or concerned about the battles won and lost by the legions when I know that in the next novel they will have magically acquired battleships, tanks, titans and soldiers from nowhere to easily replace their losses and throw back into the maelstrom.

I enjoyed Vengeful Spirit. It didn't end how I wanted it to and it wasn't the best book in the series, but it at least reminded us about the Sons of Horus. Damnation of Pythos was rather uninteresting for me, but that's mainly because I dislike the Iron Hands (who seem to get a lot of book time at the moment)

I personally loved the jokes about the White Scars, essentially acknowledging that GW has, in the past decades, given them next to zero back history or character. Admittedly it wasn't a fantastic book, but hell, there are not other White Scars novels to compare it to. I'd like to see more from them.

But no, they weren't at Istvaan or Calth, so we'll probably never hear from them again.
I'd just like to see them push the story forwards a little and address the issue of military attrition the Rebels must be facing. We hear a lot about the shattered Loyalist forces and how they're struggling to fight on effectively, but since we've seen numerous Rebel defeats, we've not even seen a hint that it may be affecting them. It would be nice to see them address the issue of dwindling manpower.

We've been getting a lot of compilations recently and while some of them are really fun (I'm looking at you Sevatar) others are utterly painful to get through. I forget the name of the short story, but it was about the Alpha Legion and was written in the style of a technical report. It mimicked the style of a really dull report so perfectly that it was too tedious to finish.

I know it's very easy to say, "Just don't read them", but I, like many of you, have become very invested in the characters and the story. It feels very much like they hit a hurdle in the story arch back in 2014 and they don't really know where to go next. So now they just put together lots of anthologies and the odd novel which doesn't really progress anything.

Look at 2013! Betrayer, Vulkan Lives, Scars, Unremembered Empire and the anthologies of Imperial Truth and Mark of Calth. I really enjoyed all of those books.

Now look at 2014. Vengeful Spirit and Damnation of Pythos being the only full novels. I've already given my opinion of those. Sedition's Gate, Legacies of Betrayal Death and Defiance...well, there were a few short stories I liked from each, but anthologies just don't compare with a nice meaty novel. It's like going to a restaurant and only being able to order canapés when all you really want is a nice big steak.

I hope they find some focus soon.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-19-15, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Kharn The Complainer View Post
These epic war machines which supposedly take decades to manufacture are being thrown around and destroyed in a single battle. In my mind they lose their stature when they are discarded in such a nonchalant way.

In some of the space battles we see multitudes of battlecruisers explode. These are ships which have crews in the tens of thousands and take generations (I would assume 50+ years) to construct.
This is partly due to the differences between the 30k and 40k Imperium. During the time of the great crusade the Imperium had access to greater resources and were less technophobic than they are in 41st millenium. In the present, your right in that it does take a very long time to produce things like titans and starships, but thats because they no longer have access to the manufacturing capabilities they did prior to the Heresy (when the majority of that infrastructure was destroyed.)

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Originally Posted by Kharn The Complainer View Post
I no longer feel connected or concerned about the battles won and lost by the legions when I know that in the next novel they will have magically acquired battleships, tanks, titans and soldiers from nowhere to easily replace their losses and throw back into the maelstrom.
Remember that:
1. The galaxy is a very big place
2. We have not necessarily seen all of certain legions gathered together in one fleet during the Age of Darkness

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Originally Posted by Kharn The Complainer View Post
I'd just like to see them push the story forwards a little and address the issue of military attrition the Rebels must be facing. We hear a lot about the shattered Loyalist forces and how they're struggling to fight on effectively, but since we've seen numerous Rebel defeats, we've not even seen a hint that it may be affecting them. It would be nice to see them address the issue of dwindling manpower.
Thats just it though, are they really dwindling in strength? Or, perhaps, are they allowing the weaker elements of their legions to be killed while other maters are attended to? (Like Horus gaining power like that of the Emperor, or Fulgrim ascending to a greater power, or Lorgar creating the ruinstorm and transforming Angron, or Mortarion trying to turn the Khan.)

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Originally Posted by Kharn The Complainer View Post
I know it's very easy to say, "Just don't read them", but I, like many of you, have become very invested in the characters and the story.
So have I, but it hasn't stopped me from not picking up Vulkan Lives or The Damnation of Pythos.

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Originally Posted by Kharn The Complainer View Post
Look at 2013! Betrayer, Vulkan Lives, Scars, Unremembered Empire and the anthologies of Imperial Truth and Mark of Calth. I really enjoyed all of those books.

Now look at 2014. Vengeful Spirit and Damnation of Pythos being the only full novels. I've already given my opinion of those. Sedition's Gate, Legacies of Betrayal Death and Defiance...well, there were a few short stories I liked from each, but anthologies just don't compare with a nice meaty novel. It's like going to a restaurant and only being able to order canapés when all you really want is a nice big steak.
Could this possibly be due to a change in focus from longer novels to shorter stories while the authors work on other things than just the Heresy series?

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-15, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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This is partly due to the differences between the 30k and 40k Imperium. During the time of the great crusade the Imperium had access to greater resources and were less technophobic than they are in 41st millenium. In the present, your right in that it does take a very long time to produce things like titans and starships, but thats because they no longer have access to the manufacturing capabilities they did prior to the Heresy (when the majority of that infrastructure was destroyed.)
But I'm actually getting this information from the HH novels. Sadly, I can't point you in the direction of actual quotes since after reading every story up to this year's releases they have all merged into a big mess in my head. But in one or two of the earlier novels they do mention that it takes decades to manufacture a titan. In fact, in the short story which preceded Vengeful Spirit they discuss how the Knights were passed down through generations and required almost forgotten technical knowledge. You could argue that this doesn't mean that they can't churn out a new Knight over a weekend, but it seems to me that it does.



Quote:
Remember that:
1. The galaxy is a very big place
2. We have not necessarily seen all of certain legions gathered together in one fleet during the Age of Darkness
True.


Quote:
Thats just it though, are they really dwindling in strength? Or, perhaps, are they allowing the weaker elements of their legions to be killed while other maters are attended to? (Like Horus gaining power like that of the Emperor, or Fulgrim ascending to a greater power, or Lorgar creating the ruinstorm and transforming Angron, or Mortarion trying to turn the Khan.)
Well lets look at The Emperor's Children. After the Istvaan purge their numbers are down to between 60,000 and 50,000 depending on source. Take into account the battles at the Perfect Fortress, the events of Betrayal and even losing battle cruisers filled with legionaries in the Damnation of Pythos we can assume that they have lost another 5-10k. That drops them to below half of their original 110,000. They will certainly have many further losses between now and Terra.
So while Fulgrim is now a daemon prince, he will soon be one without an army.

After the Thramas conflict the Night Lords are said to be only 10,000!

Sure, the writers can just pull a CREEEED! and say that they had another 100,000 hiding behind a tree or small moon, but that's just lazy.


Quote:
So have I, but it hasn't stopped me from not picking up Vulkan Lives or The Damnation of Pythos.
Indeed, but is it wrong to want them to stop focusing on the past and move forwards?


Quote:
Could this possibly be due to a change in focus from longer novels to shorter stories while the authors work on other things than just the Heresy series?
Now that is a lovely thought.


On a slightly different note, it will be interesting to see how the Blood Angels get from Macragge to Terra so quickly and why the Ultramarines take some much longer. I sense troubles ahead!
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-15, 04:49 PM
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Seriously, guys...

I AM A MAN.
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-15, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Seriously, guys...

I AM A MAN.

Are you sure you're a man? Not just a bearded woman?

Looks like I'll be needing to hit the edit button...
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-20-15, 05:45 PM
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Could this possibly be due to a change in focus from longer novels to shorter stories while the authors work on other things than just the Heresy series?
If this is the case (I truly hope it isn't) it seems a bit counter-intuitive. You get all your big authors on board for a huge and expansive series that makes the New York Best Sellers and transcends the 40k hobby and its fans, and get readers seriously invested by producing quality work like First Heretic, Know No Fear, Legion, and A Thousand Sons.

Then when the A Listers get bored you hand it off to the B List writers, and produce poor, pointless shorts covering ground already well covered, or not worth covering in the first place, and drive away your hard established fan base. From a purely business angle that seems pretty dumb.

Last edited by Khorne's Fist; 08-20-15 at 06:38 PM.
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